By Petra Dieners
Gil Bronner (54) seems to be a modest person to the outside. Nobody knows how large his collection really is. 20 years ago the property developer began collecting art, and founded his collection Philara in 2006. The opening of the private museum will be taking place this Sunday, the 26th of june. The exhibition space is 1700qm big and is in the old glass factory Lennarz on the Birkenstraße in Düsseldorf, which he has been renovating for 1 1/2 years.
Last Sunday, I’ve had the chance to get an interview with Gil and I also got a small tour of the museum. Although I could not have believed that everything would be done by next week, I can already say that the museum is definitly worth visiting!
The architecture and the generosity of the space, as well as the fascinating art works have very much impressed me! Each room surprises the visitor again and again, and as you walk on you ask yourself each time: What might come next?
The artists Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman were working on their installation ‘Artichoke Underground’ while I visited. It spreads over two floors and has a few room that you can visit. Justin first exhibited this installation on the Art Basel in 2013. I can already reveal to you that one of the rooms is completely covered in salt.
The museum will also have a cafe with a terrace overlooking a small garden.The cafe can also be rented for private events.
I am very looking forward to the opening of the museum, and will tell you more about it afterwards!
On the dream picutres above there are shown lips of famous actress as Angelina Jolie and Cameron Diaz.
Here a hand bag of David Renggli.
I also love the portait from Mathias Bitzer.
The first temporary exhibition includes works from the artist Friedrich Kunath who loves tennis as it can be seen in the hand of his meerkats.
What was the first artwork that you ever bought?
I already had some pieces, but the first significant piece for me was an art work by Neo Rauch.
How did you come up with the idea to start a collection, and then to build and open your own museum?
It happened over time. I have an art space on the Walzwerkstreet in Reisholz, Düsseldorf. In 2008, I started doing exibitions there. Altogether there were more then 40 shows, from which I almost always bought something. My collection grew very quickly during those years.
My main intention though, is to make art more accesible to a wider audience.
How many of your own artworks will you be displaying in your museum?
In the first exibition there will be about 70-80 pieces. This is only a small section of the collection.
Will the visitors have the chance to see the entire collection over time?
We will have to see. The permanent exibition will be rotating.
What styles will be shown in the museum?
Paintings, photography, work on paper, sculptures, installational pieces as well as a minority of moving media.
How would you define your own style?
Style is something that you have to develop on your own. Ideally something which reflects your own personality.
What is your favourite style in clothing? What is your favourite style for women?
Casual and out of the ordinary. I like wearing checkered pants. But lately I’ve been a little smoother.
I love dresses for women; rather then pants. Very classical. I also like skirts, preferably very feminine and with something special. If it suits the woman, I also like it extroverted.
Who are your favourite designers?
I oscilliate between Prada, Dior and Etro.
In your opinion, what should a man/women never wear?
For women I hate shoes that are round at the front. I find ballerinas horrendous. That always reminds me of Daisy Duck!
I would never wear a double-breasted suit. Red corduroy trousers with a checkered blazer is terrible. I also dislike jeans with blazers. It always looks like someone who is still looking for his personal style. I have stopped wearing jeans. I like them, but only for younger people.
What is total happiness for you? When are you really happy?
Never! Complete happiness is something that is unnattainable for me. If I would reach it, I’d probably either be bored or dead. I don’t want that. If there is no more hunger inside you, it’s not interesting anymore.
Who is your favourite artist?
Oh, difficult. I cannot answer that.
Where do you like travelling to/ would you want to live?
I like Europe. Especially Italy and France. If I would have to decide which country to live in, I would choose France. Actually I prefer Italy, but France is more interesting, because it simply has everything. Mountains, the hinterland, the Atlantic ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
In the winter we were in Rio. I found that the City is exceptionally beautiful, with its bays and mountains in its lush green. I really like travelling. But not as much as my wife!
What is your biggest fault?
Impatience, unpunctuality and my lack of self control when it comes to buying art.
Carpe Diem – seize the day